After moving to Pittsburg couple of years ago, editorial and advertising portrait photographer Tom M. Johnson found a unique way to photograph the city and tell a story at the same time of the people working there.
On a December afternoon, as the turquoise sky surrendered to the city lights, Tom M. Johnson was struck by the isolation of a parking lot attendant sitting in his booth. Fascinated by this occupied booth, Johnson started with his project named “Pittsburgh Parking Lot Booths and Their Attendants”, capturing the isolation and melancholy of Pittsburgh parking lot attendants with nothing other than their thoughts. “I wanted to show an aspect of daily life in the city so steeped in the habits that people have forgotten what makes it interesting”, Tom M. Johnson explains. Pittsburgh is a commuter city with marginal public transportation, so most people have to drive into the city from surrounding suburbs and need a place to park. Tom M. Johnson photographs the attendants not as obscure structures, he takes their portraits as he sees them, as animate objects with a character shaped by years. These occupied booths seem like a portrait within a portrait and thus a story within a story. This project demonstrates the symbiotic relationship of both the booth and the attendant. The occupant needs the booth for comfort and function, while the booth needs its attendant for significance.
All images © Tom M. Johnson